On the surface, adopting two puppies from the same litter may seem like a no-brainer. Not only is it double the cuteness, but keeping siblings together may seem like a good idea for the puppies. But the truth is, most behaviourists, trainers, and veterinarians say otherwise. So what's the problem? What can pet owners do to help puppies who are suffering from separation anxiety from their littermates? And what should they do if they do want to adopt dog siblings? Here's what two veterinarians had to say.
What Are the Concerns of Adopting Two Sibling Dogs?
Most of the concerns for adopting two puppies from the same litter come from a human-pet bond standpoint, Dr. Ryan Rucker, DVM and Zesty Paws spokesperson, told POPSUGAR. "Siblings may be more prone to attaching to each other and forming a bond with each other that may become inseparable," she said. "Oftentimes it's to the detriment of the human-pet bond, as they choose not to form a deep bond with their human." Because of this reason, adopting sibling dogs can also pose several difficulties with training and obedience.
Is It OK For Dogs to Separate From Their Siblings?
Puppies can get separation anxiety when they are separated from each other, which may lead to health issues, Dr. Rucker said. However, with time, training, and bonding, that anxiety will likely lessen and puppies will become part of their new families.
"Puppies can have a strong bond with their littermates, but there are many things you can do to ease their transition into their new forever family," said Dr. Whitney Miller, director of veterinary medicine at Petco.
Pet owners should make sure they have everything they need before they bring home a new puppy. "Toys, nutritious food, a cosy place to rest, and so much more can help make sure your new pup is comfortable," Dr. Miller said. "Also take extra time to bond with your new dog when you first get home. Finally, don't forget puppy socialisation — once your pup has seen a vet and received necessary vaccinations — to help your new furry family member get some interaction time with other dogs."
What About Owners Who Do Decide to Adopt Dog Siblings?
Dr. Miller said adopting dog siblings can be a positive way to bring new members into your family that already have a strong bond. However, it requires extensive training and a lot of dedication to raise two puppies from the same litter for the various reasons mentioned above.
"If owners do choose to adopt siblings, I always strongly suggest proper training measures and for owners to do ample research prior to adopting," said Dr. Rucker.
Another precaution to take is to ensure any new family dogs get spayed or neutered, whether siblings or not, to guard against unwanted breeding, said Dr. Miller. "Bringing a new dog into the family is an amazing experience, but at times it can be overwhelming," she said. "Pet parents should make sure they are ready to bring two new dogs into the family and are prepared to give each dog individual training and attention."